Lawrence Coates grew up in El Cerrito, California. Before beginning college, Coates served in the Coast Guard and in the Merchant Marine, sailing aboard buoy tenders, oil tankers, and oceanographic research vessels. He holds a B.A. from The University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He has published five books, most recently The Goodbye House, a novel set amid the housing tracts of San Jose in the aftermath of the first dot com bust and the attacks of 9/11, and Camp Olvido, a novella set in a labor camp in California’s Great Central Valley. His work has been recognized with the Western States Book Award in Fiction, the Donald Barthelme Prize in Short Prose, the Miami University Press Novella Prize, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
In a California migrant labor camp in 1932, a child’s sudden illness leads to tensions between workers wishing to break camp and the land barons enforcing their contracts. Into this dispute Esteban Alas, a bootlegger, is reluctantly drawn as a mediator, until an act of violence forces him into a more tragic role.
The Goodbye House2015
The Garden of the World2011
The Master of Monterey2003
The Blossom Festival1999
Awards and Recognition
- Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Prize for the Novella -- 2020
- The Miami University Press Novella Prize -- 2015
- Barthelme Prize for Short Prose -- 2013
- Nancy Dasher Award in Creative Writing -- 2013
- Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award -- 2016
- National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction -- 2000-01
- Western States Book Award in Fiction -- 1999